The Ruddy Crake (sometimes known as the Red Rail) is one of the most northerly members of its genus. It occurs along both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Central America from Costa Rica north to Guerrero in southwestern Mexico and Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Within its range it is distinctive for being the only small rail that is almost completely chestnut. As with other members of the genus Laterallus, it is found in a variety of wetland habitats including marshes, flooded fields, wet meadows, roadside ditches and pastures with tall grass and weeds from lowlands up to 1500 m. It forages on the ground, presumably for invertebrates. The Ruddy Crake is difficult to observe, but its distinctive explosive descending trill is unlikely to be confused with the vocalizations of any other co-occurring marsh inhabitant.